Road­block for karate comp

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

The Mar­garet River Karate Club’s plans for their in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ment in Au­gust have hit a snag, with a team of eight Nepalese com­peti­tors re­fused en­try into the coun­try.

Team leader Mukun­dra Ma­har­jan said visas for the eight Nepalese na­tion­als were de­clined, po­ten­tially mo­ti­vated by fears in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors might seek asy­lum, as oc­curred in April’s Com­mon­wealth Games.

“Sounds like Aus­tralia has the jit­ters about ath­letes com­pet­ing here, for fear they may ab­scond and ap­ply for asy­lum,” he said in an email.

“Are there op­tions for us to have the rul­ing re­versed?”

Club spokesman Mar­ius Dakin said the im­passe over visas was dis­ap­point­ing and cast a cloud over the 2018 USKU Sho­tokan be­cause it was an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

About 150 com­peti­tors were ex­pected to take part, with flow-on ef­fects for the wider com­mu­nity.

“The three-day event will bring a size­able amount of money to the com­mu­nity dur­ing the tail-end of win­ter, which tra­di­tion­ally is a pretty quiet time for lo­cal busi­nesses,” he said.

“This could have dire con­se­quences for us and in­ad­ver­tently af­fect the suc­cess of the tour­na­ment.

“Not to men­tion the small group of club mem­bers who are work­ing end­lessly in prepa­ra­tion for this ma­jor event — we have a pretty ex­ten­sive pro­gram on of­fer which we hope won’t be jeop­ar­dised,” Mr Dakin said.

The club was still wait­ing to hear if the Malaysian con­tin­gent re­ceived visas. Mr Dakin feared de­clined visas could “po­ten­tially alien­ate other coun­tries too”.

A me­dia of­fi­cer from the De­part­ment of Home Af­fairs would not be drawn on “in­di­vid­ual cases” .

“All non-ci­ti­zens ap­ply­ing for visas to en­ter Aus­tralia are con­sid­ered on a case-by-case ba­sis and against the le­gal re­quire­ments set out in Aus­tralia’s mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion,” the of­fi­cer said.

“All visa ap­pli­cants are re­quired to pro­vide cer­tain doc­u­ments to sup­port their visa ap­pli­ca­tion. All non-ci­ti­zens wish­ing to visit Aus­tralia must sat­isfy stan­dard visa cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing ap­pli­ca­ble health, char­ac­ter, se­cu­rity and tem­po­rary stay re­quire­ments, be­fore a visa can be granted.”

The Nepalese Em­bassy’s Perth hon­orary con­sult Fred Brown said he was un­aware of the visa ap­pli­ca­tions and would con­tact Can­berra.

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